Vitrectomy / Vitreo-retinal surgery
Vitrectomy is a type of eye surgery used to treat disorders of the retina (the light-sensing cells at the back of the eye) and vitreous (the clear gel-like substance inside the eye). It may be used to treat a severe eye injury, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachments, epiretinal membrane (macular pucker), and macular holes. This procedure is performed in the operating room. During a vitrectomy operation, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the sclera (the white part of the eye). Using a microscope to look inside the eye and microsurgical instruments, the surgeon removes the vitreous and repairs the retina through these tiny incisions. Repairs include removing scar tissue or a foreign object if present. During the procedure, the retina may be treated with a laser to reduce future bleeding or to fix a tear in the retina. An air or gas bubble that slowly disappears on its own may be placed in the eye. This bubble holds the retina in place as it re-attaches to the back of your eye. With time, the bubble disappears and is replaced with your normal eye fluid.
You must keep your head facing downward or turned to a particular side for up to several weeks after surgery so that the bubble will remain in the right position. In some cases the positioning requirements are full-time, and in others it may be part-time. If you lie in the wrong position, such as face-up, pressure may be applied to other parts of the eye, causing further problems like cataract or glaucoma. When the gas bubble is in the eye the vision may be poor but as the gas bubble dissolves, the vision should improve. The final vision after surgery depends on how damaged the retina was before surgery.